SAINT LEO, Fla. – Barry University’s baseball team dropped the fist of a three-game set in Saint Leo, 6-5, after giving up five runs in the ninth to the Lions Sunday night at Thomas B. Southard field.
The Buccaneers (28-19, 8-14) seized control of the game from the start with a pair of solo-homers from Branden Shaw and Khalil Denson in the third to take a 2-0 lead. With a pair of runners in scoring position and two outs in the seventh, Shaw reached on a fielding error by the second baseman Alex Mata, but was able to drive in Tyler Kellmann and Greg Brodzinski to give the Buccaneers a 4-0 lead.
Saint Leo (32-15, 13-9 SSC) answered with a run in the bottom of the seventh on Chris Newcomb’s RBI single up the middle, but the Bucs once again increased the deficit to four runs in the top of the eighth with Adrian English’s RBI single to left that scored J. C. Cardenas.
Barry’s starter, Calvin Rayburn was in complete control of the game, having given up just one run through the first eight innings. After retiring the first two outs of the ninth, Rayburn struggled to collect the final out of the game and loaded the bases with three free passes. Then with the bases loaded, Rayburn hit Dale Irving to push across another run, cutting the Bucs’ lead to just 5-2.
Joeanthony Rivera (4-1) entered the game with the bases loaded, a three-run lead and needed just one more out to put the Lions away, but Saint Leo had other ideas.
Nick Perez singled through the left side to push across another run and then the Lions capitalized on a passed ball and a wild pitch to score twice more and tie the game at 5-5. Following a walk and a stolen base, Fran Whitten singled to left to drive in Nick Perez, the game winning run, in a stunning come-from-behind walk-off win.
Rivera was tagged with the loss and Rayburn, who was nearly flawless in the first 8.2 innings of work, allowed five runs on seven hits and struck out.
Barry scored five runs on just five hits. Shaw paced the offense with a 1-for-4, three-RBI night that included his fifth long-ball of the season.
The Bucs and Lions return to action on Monday at 1 pm for the final two games of the season.